Dallas — Never ones to avoid a challenge, Danielle Georgiou and Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet teamed up to create a little gem of a multimedia work, I Came to the Light and Stayed for the Shadows. Only 25 minutes long, it incorporated the hallucinatory music and video projections of Nocturne Blues with dance. The inspiration was Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 sci-fi Solaris, filmed in 35 mm. The first two dances were choreographed by Ms. Georgiou and the last by Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet artistic director Emilie Skinner.
This is not the first time the two have collaborated on a work that pulled together film, video projection, music and dance. Two years ago the movie was The Red Shoes; last Halloween it was Dario Argento’s 1977 Suspiria.
Performed Saturday night at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff, I Came to the Light plays on the film’s images and themes in a manner more poetic than narrative. The dance opened the show; the 2:46 minute-long film followed, raising the question, would you see the dance differently had the order been reversed? More than likely yes, but few people would have the stamina to stay.
A synopsis of Solaris: a Russian psychologist, Kris Kelvin, returns to a space station that seems to have lost connection with the world. Only two of the three scientists remain alive, a little mad, and outer space and the ocean have had a strange affect on their psyches. Soon, Kelvin is affected, as memories of his dead wife turn into what looks like the real, live Hari. From then on he wavers between keeping his hallucinations or returning to earth.
Moving at a deliberately slow pace, the mood is one of dread and instability. The images are unsettling: Kevin staring at the flowing seaweed in his pond; cars travelling through tunnels and overpasses in what begins to look like demented motion; a catastrophic circular space station littered with coils; smashed doors; broken glass and bodies floating upwards.
Some of that sense of unease comes across in I Came to the Light and Stayed for the Shadow. Dancers are barely visible in dim light. The video projects scenes that have at least a tangential connection to the movie—a serene ocean that turns turbulent; a woman with the head of a horse standing stationary in front of ocean waves; two women floating and gently touching each other under sea, their red hair and red dresses swirling in the current; and abstract images multiplied like shards of glass.
The first dance opens with image of lapping ocean waves. Barely visible in the dim light, Laura Pearson appears like an apparition, moving slowly and deliberately, stretching out her limbs at clearly defined angles. Above, the image of a dancer floats and sways, upside down, with the image enlarging so that only her legs or head appears.
Making for a seamless show, in between dances Nocturne Blues artists’ Dutch Wall on synthesizer and mini-keyboard and Markus Reuter on guitar continue to play, with each interlude displaying more projected images.
In the second scene, Ema Borras and Lea Zablocki connect and split apart like atoms, moving closer again but facing in difference directions. On the screen, the red-haired women swirl and float.
In the last scene, water laps over the feet of the woman with the head of a horse while on the ground, two figures appear. Ms. Zablocki and Alex Langley keep their distance as they run back and forth. When they connect, they stand facing each other, before engaging in arching lifts and piqué turns in arabesque. The movement is now free and balletic, ending with the two leaping away. In a very vague way, they represent Kevin and the ghostly image of Hari.
» Margaret Putnam has been writing about dance since 1980, with works published by D Magazine, The Dallas Observer, The Dallas Times Herald, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times, Playbill, Stagebill, Pointe Magazine and Dance Magazine.